chapter  5
20 Pages

Law and Identity: Transnational Arranged Marriages and the Boundaries of Danishness

WithGarbi Schmidt

In Denmark, the practice of transnational arranged marriages among immigrants has

stirred debate on several levels of society. One effect of the debate is a tightened

regulation of family formation migration, seen as an effective means both of limiting the

number of immigrants and of furthering processes of social integration. Within media-

based and political debates, transnational marriages are frequently described as practices

destructive both to individual freedom and to Danish national identity. Nonetheless, it is

a practice in which both minority and majority citizens engage, one that frames both

their family lives and their lives as citizens. This article analyses the dynamic

relationship between public discourse and practices of transnational marriage. The first

part describes how political and legislative perceptions of transnational (arranged)

marriages are situated within a discussion of ‘Danishness’. The second part describes

how second-generation immigrants from Turkey and Pakistan, all of whom have

married someone from their country of origin, articulate how public discourse on

transnationally arranged marriages affects their lives. This part particularly focuses on

the informants’ expressions of autonomy and choice and their adaptations of such

concepts to understandings of social belonging, inclusion and identity formation vis-a`-

vis the Danish nation-state.